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Study: Harassment of public health officials ‘very common’ during pandemic

A new study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health showed a large percentage of healthcare workers who left their jobs or were fired during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic reported being harassed at their jobs.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found more than half of those healthcare workers surveyed were victims of harassment between March 2020 and January 2021.

During the same time period, 222 of the respondents left their jobs, and 36 percent of those who left said they had experienced harassment by members of the public while at work.

“This is a wakeup call for the field about the need to prioritize the long-term protection of our public health workforce,” said Beth Resnick, DrPH, assistant dean for Practice and Training in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School.

“Taking care of the workforce needs to be a fundamental component of the public health infrastructure that doesn’t end when the pandemic does.”

A survey of local health departments identified 1,499 harassment cases between October 2020 and February 2021.

“No public health professional should feel undervalued, unsafe, or be questioning the fundamental mission and purpose of their work,” said Resnick. “We need to do better and prioritize worker well-being and safety by implementing policies that reduce undermining, ostracizing, and intimidating behaviors to support these key workers and leaders.”

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WASHINGTON POST

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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